Review: Urban Crew iSafe Campus Laptop Backpack with Alarm
November 28, 2012 by Bill Palmer
by Bill Palmer
iSafe Bags takes the fact that people are increasingly carrying whistle or noisemaker devices in case of attack, throws in the fact that carrying a backpack makes you more of a target due to the assumption that there’s a valuable laptop or tablet inside, and offers the novel solution of a backpack with a panic alarm built into it. The Urban Crew Campus Laptop Backpack looks and functions just like any other backpack, with the exception of a rip-cord hidden under the right shoulder strap which sounds an alarm.
As a backpack, the Urban Crew features a main zippered pocket for any device up a 15.6 inch laptop, along with three progressively smaller zippered pockets for holding other items. The smallest includes pencil slots and a mesh pocket for supplies. On top is yet another zippered pouch for small items. The backpack is black, but comes with an optional choice of color highlights ranging from pink to neon green.
But the defining feature of course is the alarm. It works much like a rip cord on a parachute, where all you have to do is lift the flap on your right shoulder and yank the cable underneath it. The result is an alarm that’s louder and more piercing than a fire alarm, and more closely resembles a Star Trek “red alarm” siren. If you don’t know it’s coming, and you don’t immediately know how to shut if off, the alarm is going to send you into a distracted panic. After testing it out a few times in a row, I had enough of a headache that I had to sit down.
This is, of course, precisely what you want it to do. If you’re being assaulted, the attacker is going to be paralyzed by the alarm. And if someone is trying to steal the backpack, they won’t get more than a few feet before ditching the bag and running away from it just to get away from the noise. Even if your attacker is determined enough to keep assaulting you through the piercing noise, anyone who’s remotely near you is going to be made keenly aware that there’s an emergency going on so they can help out.
If you’re going to buy this for your kids, make sure you show them precisely where the rip cord is. It’s very easy to get to once you know where it is, but you’ll want them to have that knowledge beforehand rather than trying to find it during an emergency. Advise them not to tell their classmates about the alarm, so that no pranksters get any funny ideas. And if you have the misfortunate to have to use the alarm a number of times, you’ll eventually need to replace its batteries.
My experience with laptop backpacks tells me that the Urban Crew has the build, materials, and durability of a very nice $49 laptop backpack. That means you’re paying an extra fifty dollars (forty dollars right now, due to the introductory price) for the alarm functionality. That’s a lot of money if you or your kids are unlikely to be in a situation where they’d ever need it. But if you do have legitimate safety concerns, then the Urban Crew is a great way to make sure your kids not only have a safety alarm system, but never forget to take it with them when going to and from school
Price: $99 standard price, $89 introductory price • isafebags.com